Dating before marriage statistics
Lehmiller said studies of cohabitation should start working with data sets that include same-sex couples and move away from equating the stability of a marriage with its success.
“Some people have views about marriage that would lead them to stay in one even if it’s not satisfying,” he said.
For one, she says, it’s hard to study divorce in ways that are useful into their marriage, and the social norms around cohabitation in the U. have evolved quickly, so “if we study a cohort of people who got married 20 years ago, by the time we have the data on whether they got a divorce or not, their experience in living together and their experience of the social norms around living together are from 20 years ago,” Rhoades told me.
In other words, by the time researchers have enough longitudinal data to know whether one is meaningfully linked to the other, the social norms that shaped the findings will hardly be of use to couples today trying to figure out how cohabitation could affect their relationship.
Indeed, as cohabitation has become more normalized, it has ceased to be so strongly linked to divorce. In 2012, a study in the “since the mid-1990s, whether men or women cohabited with their spouse prior to marriage is not related to marital stability.” This is the same journal that just published a study finding the opposite.
Steffen Reinhold, of the University of Mannheim’s Research Institute for the Economics of Aging, pointed out in a 2010 study that in European countries, the correlation disappeared when the cohabitation-before-marriage rate among married adults reached about 50 percent; the U. Galena Rhoades, a psychologist at the University of Denver, has a few theories as to why it’s so difficult to glean what effect, if any, cohabitation has on marital stability.
It comes down to: “Whose judgment do we trust more?
with a somewhat foreboding finding: Couples who lived together before marriage had a lower divorce rate in their first year of marriage, but had a higher divorce rate after five years.
”One reason Lehmiller thinks premarital cohabitation may be controversial among researchers is because the practice is controversial in general.
It has historically been culturally frowned upon—it is, after all, an unapologetic signal to the outside world that premarital sex is being had in a particular household.